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Cellphones Crime United Kingdom

Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the pre-owned-like dept.
First time accepted submitter WebAgeCaveman (3615807) writes in with news about just how big the stolen smartphone black market is. "A black market of shops and traders willing to deal in stolen smartphones has been exposed by a BBC London undercover investigation. Intelligence was received that some shops across a swathe of east London were happy to buy phones from thieves. Two traders were filmed buying Samsung S3 and iPhone 4 devices from a researcher posing as a thief - despite him making it clear they were stolen. The shops involved have declined to comment."
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Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:20PM (#46749583)

    Sharyl Attkisson (formerly of the Washington bureau for CBS News) explains it here [huffingtonpost.com].

    They don't want hard hitting stories. They're cowed, either by government and political forces or corporate forces and pressure groups.

  • No great revelation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon (735973) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:32PM (#46749669) Journal
    Don't get me wrong, it's a good and valuable piece of journalism. But I doubt the findings will be a surprise to anybody who's lived in the more central areas of London (or any other major UK city), outside of a few sheltered enclaves.

    I lived for a few years living around the New Cross/Bermondsey area (south of the river, but similar in demographic to the areas in TFA) and there were always a few electronics shops whose existence seemed fundamentally implausible if their business was founded on anything other than handling stolen goods. I avoided them like the plague, but they were generally pretty resilient businesses - and if one closed down, another would spring up a few streets away. I'm not saying that any business which looks a bit grungy is dishonest. I've made some good purchases at backstreet computer stores which get good prices on the back of low overheads and connections with legitimate suppliers (though such places are rare these days since the online boom). But there's a certain type of business which is offering games consoles or other commodity goods at the kind of prices that just make you go "hmm".

    Hell, even going back well before that, I can remember independent video games stores "Ooop North" (from the tail end of the period before the big chains drove most of them to the wall, around the early PS1/N64 era) who were well known among my teenaged peers for staying in business on the basis of a combination of modchipping and fencing stolen goods. In fact, I remember one very close to my school being raided by police and shut down (presumably after crossing some nebulous line into their visible spectrum). Provided a fascinating distraction during the middle of an otherwise dull day at school.

    As the whole modchipping thing implies, these have never been businesses run by people without a degree of tech-savvy. It's no surprise that they've moved onto circumventing mobile phone protections. And I bet you'd find similar businesses in, at the very least, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow.

    There have even been suggestions - though I offer no comment as to their veracity - that a well-known red-logoed chain of second hand electronics stores with a presence in almost every town in the UK might sometimes be less than choosy about checking the provenance of the goods it accepts [ilfordrecorder.co.uk].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:02PM (#46749925)

    Michael Isikoff just bailed on NBC News for the same reason.

    "I had a good ride at NBC, and I’m proud of a lot of what I was able to do there. But it was increasingly clear they were moving in directions in which there were going to be fewer opportunities for my work."

    Isikoff is an investigative reporter.

  • not just the uk (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @03:31PM (#46750197)

    My sister's friend recently had her phone stolen in LA. She tracked her phone to a phone shop in the worst part of town. When she confronted the store owner about it he had the nerve to tell her "we don't rat out our suppliers."

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. -- Errol Flynn Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. -- Errol Flynn

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